May 18, 2024

Ilse Mueller


Ilse Mueller

Ilse S. Mueller, 91, passed away on Friday, April 26th, 2024 in Osceola, Iowa at Clarke County Hospital. A celebration of life will take place at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please consider planting a tree in her honor or direct your monetary memorials to her family for scholarship fund in her honor.

Ilse Mueller was born on April 6, 1933 in the small village of Helmighausen, Germany to Friedrich and Emma nee Kelter Schmidt. Ilse’s early years were greatly impacted by World War II in Germany. She frequently shared the many challenging experiences and stories of those years that were so vividly etched in her memory. The experiences and hardships she witnessed through wartime shaped her life indefinitely.

In 1950, during a visit to Germany, Ilse’s Uncle Henry who had emigrated from Germany in the 1920s, invited her to join his family in Jasper County, Iowa in the United States. Thanks to Henry’s sponsorship, Ilse was able to accept the invitation and set sail on the five-day voyage to the United States. Despite the challenges of living in a new country, she attended her senior year of high school in Newton. After which, she attended nursing school in Marshalltown at the Deaconess Hospital and passed her state boards in 1954. It was around that time that she met a lawyer, Helmut (Ham), from Chicago who was practicing in Des Moines. They married in the fall of 1954. They went on to have three wonderful children - Linda, Kurt and Helga.

Ham and Ilse were innovative, hard workers. They were an equal partnership. They bought an old-rundown farm in Johnston, made it their own over the years as they had the money, and even planted a tree farm with over 30,000 trees on a small piece of land by Jester Park in Johnston. Their next dream was a farm with livestock. She told Helmut, “I am home again,” when they first viewed their Clarke County farm. The hills and forests reminded her of the Germany she had left behind.

Ilse tried her hand at bees, sheep, hogs, chickens, and rabbits, but finally settled on growing a herd of cattle. She took much pride in beautifying her spots on Earth with flowers, trees, and as many birds as possible. There was nothing more she loved than spending the day in nature with the people she loved. She also loved to garden and preserve her seasonal harvest. She loved opening her home to friends and family, which was always accompanied by her wonderful cooking.

She was an adventurous and eccentric Oma. Her family brought her so much joy. Ilse was spicy, opinionated, well read, tough, creative, determined, and just like Ham, a political junky. We will miss her grit, spunk, blunt honesty, and humor. She led a beautiful example of a life well lived. As she once wrote to The IAGenWeb Project, “As I am writing this, my surroundings are a paradise; The grass is green, clematis, hostas, impatiens and phlox are blooming. The hummingbirds take advantage of this smorgasbord.”

Ilse is survived by sister Helga Vering; her daughters, Linda (Chuck) Graves, and Helga (Dave) Offenburger; grandchildren: Paul (Jess) Graves, Emmi (Nathan) Binning, Hannah (Blake) Smith, Nick Mc Daniel, and Kaleb Offenburger; Step grandchildren, Whitley (Dustin) Crum, Madison Offenburger; 7 great grandchildren: Tyler Binning, Cole Binning, Remington Binning, Miah Graves, Lillian Graves, Gracie Graves, and Bryce Graves.

Ilse was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Helmut; son Kurt; siblings and spouses: Ruthchen (Wilhem), Emmi (Albert), Fredrich (Marlys), and Reinhard (Ilse), brother-in-law, Christian Vering.

Ilse’s family wants to extend the utmost thanks to staff at the Clarke County Hospital for the wonderful care, compassion, and sense of family given to Ilse in her last years.